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Mark Dobson: Giving life through donation beats any royal wedding gift

In his weekly column, dialysis patient Mark Dobson, who is the son of former MLA Jo-Anne, reminds us of the urgent need for organs to donate to those in critical need of transplant surgery


Quality time: Mark Dobson's mum Jo-Anne on holiday in London

Quality time: Mark Dobson's mum Jo-Anne on holiday in London

Quality time: Mark Dobson's mum Jo-Anne on holiday in London

This week mum is spending some quality time in London with my brother Elliott, who lives and works in the City.

It's so often the case that a parent's priority remains an ill son or daughter, which makes it all the more important that mum spends some time with Elliott. As well as giving me a kidney she's also been giving me her undivided attention, which means the world to me.

When Elliott was back home for a flying visit at Easter, mum and I were just over a week after our transplant surgery. He saw us both in recovery and also had to help dad out on the family farm - all work and little play!

So it's nice for them to be together in London and for mum to be fit and healthy to make the journey over too.

She travelled across on Sunday and Dad and I have been fending for ourselves until she gets back - maybe just a couple of wee treats here and there ...

As Royal wedding fever grips the country it was great to see that Harry and Meghan have adopted William and Kate's approach for their wedding gifts.

They have encouraged people, instead of giving gifts to them, to donate them to charity.

In my weekly columns I have been encouraging people to think about a very different kind of gift. One which is given so that others can have the chance of a new life.

Organ donation is known as the ultimate gift - trumping even royal wedding gifts - and has saved the lives of hundreds upon thousands of people who benefit from the selfless generosity of someone they may never know, coupled with the expert skill of their transplant surgeon and their team.

Last week it was mum's turn to have an appointment with our 'super surgeon' Tim Brown. This is normal for donors six or seven weeks post-surgery and I'm delighted to say she got a clean bill of health.

For weeks now, the focus has been on making sure that my levels are functioning correctly and that my medications are being adjusted accordingly.

It was great that mum is also getting the chance to discuss how she feels post-surgery, as the importance of post-transplant care cannot be overstated and that is for the transplant recipient as much as the donor.

Every transplant story is different and every patient faces their own ups and downs, but it's vital that the level of back-up and support is there - whether it comes from the surgeon, transplant co-ordinator or indeed charities like Kidney Care UK.

Mum got the chance to discuss her experience of the living donor programme as well as a couple of projects for the future of promoting organ donation and the miraculous work of the entire team at Belfast City Hospital - watch this space!

To give you an update on my progress I have had my stent removed and all is well - just a few journeys to the hospital to be checked over afterwards and I know the team are delighted with my kidney function. I'm still not going to tempt fate - however, it's wonderful to continue to get such positive messages from my doctors.

That's it for another week as I enter the eighth week after surgery and am still under doctors orders to keep as clear as possible of crowds - so no Ed Sheeran concerts for me ... just yet!

Belfast Telegraph